My favorite story of the week is brought to you by an unexpected (?) snowstorm on Tuesday, September 8. The school I work at does not have bus transportation, and the system/app that typically allows the students to stay in the classroom until they are called was ‘down’ – not working, unavailable. This means that all the children were to be outside, as well as all the teachers and staff in the building – ‘all hands on deck’. It was cold. Since it was 90 degrees the day before, and expected to warm up again after the storm passed, the amount of snow gear that made its way out of hibernation may not have been what it will be in another month or so. Let’s just say there was a bit of exposed skin on the sidewalk. The sky was fully overcast and misting, but not enough to be inside. School is out at 3:30 and the kids and adults are still waiting for their car at 4pm. During this time, the misting sky turned to snow. When the snow first started, I heard the typical sound of kids and first snow, a natural response of wonder and awe – a muffled crowd whisper of ‘it’s snowing’. I heard it in a rushed moment, as I was trying to be helpful in an unhelpful way getting kids to their cars and keeping the cars moving (there were a lot of us out there trying to be useful – but the process was just going to be what it was). Fingertips and toes frozen as a crescendo to a day that never warmed up inside only to finish itself outside, I opened a car door for a little girl. The little girl was trying to hurry with a bouncing backpack as big as she was and both hands full of something. She steps up (at least a foot high) into the car, and barely able to get the words out as the weight of her backpack wants to tumble over, she exclaims to her person, ‘it’s snowing!’ – capturing all the essence of a magical little girl with a squeaky voice, of life and nature, of the awe of what is and what can be.
I themed September ‘allow’. It took me a minute to consider the perspective I had at the end of December when I created the monthly themes. My post it note for the month reads: ‘allow’, and then underneath an indented arrow points to ‘experience’, and then in parenthesis under that it says ‘have’, ‘enjoy’. I think the inspiration was to enjoy September. It’s my favorite month. It can go by in a hurry if I am not present to it.
Allow is a great word. The experience of what it means to ‘allow’ when related to the inside world of feelings, impulses, thoughts, and sensations can change one’s experience of day. At least it did for me.
Have you ever heard of the Sedona Method?
Following the Breckenridge summer of 2012, I became fascinated with alternative methods of healing. I wanted to read and experience everything I could. I had a good friend with a collection of resources that contained so much content – content so new to me, new to my thinking and being in the world. I was leaving her house to drive the 90 minutes back to Denver. I wanted to listen to something juicy, something that would change my thinking and create a new and helpful way of managing my emotions. My interest was as personal as it was practical, I was teaching a class to high school students that allowed me the freedom to share ideas and techniques supporting emotional freedom. The alternative school I taught at allowed for alternative ideas.
I borrowed a set of cd’s called The Sedona Method, and was excited to listen.
The content could not have been more dry and boring. I wanted to stop shortly after I began listening. The Sedona Method was just that – a method. No more, no less. A method. It was a practice. A new skill that was not going to ‘wow’ me in content, nope. It was going to have to be applied and practiced.
Yuck. At that time, I was still moving too fast inside to slow down and practice a slow moving method. The method was to notice the feeling inside and ask yourself questions about that feeling: Can I allow it? If so, am I open to letting it go? If so, when?
Ready for the rest of this exciting method?
You do it over and over again when you feel the feeling. And if you desire, you can intentionally bring up a feeling and allow it by following the method. Each time releasing its power.
I didn’t stop the cd when I wanted to. I slowed down enough to stick with it – most likely motivated by the need for a lesson plan. I chose to practice the technique. And I practiced it the whole way down the mountain.
The method became a habit. Over time, the habit lessened the intensity of feelings that lived inside of me. Feelings that had held massive momentum, growing in intensity throughout the course of my lifetime – most likely my contribution to patterns that had been born into my cellular data, my ‘ancestor code’ – a play on my interpretation of epigenetics. Patterns that had not been examined. Patterns that had not been disrupted.
The precursor to allowing is to notice. To notice is self-awareness. Self-awareness, or just awareness, is cultivated in the practice of mindfulness, or stillness. Not a difficult concept. Perhaps a difficult practice at first as is anything you try for the first time – or try again after a long time.
When we notice our inside world and how it responds to certain stimuli, we can choose to allow the response. When we allow the response we can be curious about it. Why is it so strong? What story am I telling about the response?
Do I have the power to tell a different story? Can I create the meaning I attribute to the feeling? Can I intentionally tell stories that create meaning in a way that supports me and lends itself to my own personal growth?
Can I choose to let go of beliefs that limit me or contribute to patterns that keep me stuck or spinning in the same undesireable outcomes?